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Quentin Mease

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Information about Quentin Mease

Profile image of Quentin Mease

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Nonprofit Chief Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Steak
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
10/25/1908
Birth Location:
Buxton, Iowa

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Nonprofit Chief Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Steak
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
10/25/1908
Birth Location:
Buxton
See how Quentin Mease is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

YMCA executive and civic leader Quentin Ronald Mease was born October 25, 1908 in the now extinct, black populated, coal mining town of Buxton, Iowa. His father was a coal miner, labor leader and Justice of the Peace. Mease’s mother was a seamstress and businesswoman. Mease attended Second Street Elementary School in Buxton. When his father died in 1920, the Mease family moved to Des Moines, Iowa where Mease was active with the Crocker Branch YMCA. He graduated from West High School in 1924 and Des Moines University in 1928. During the same period Mease went from Crocker Branch YMCA volunteer to nineteen-year-old executive director in 1927. He was active in the NAACP, the Interracial Commission and the Negro Chamber of Commerce.

In 1942, Mease was inducted into the United States Army Air Corps. where he rose from the rank of enlisted man to Captain while serving in the Pacific Theatre of World War II. His squadron under General MacArthur, landed at Hiroshima one week after the atomic bomb dropped in 1945.

After earning a Masters degree in social work administration in 1948 from George Williams College in Chicago, Illinois, Mease accepted the position of executive director of the Bagby Street YMCA in Houston, Texas. There, he launched a successful building campaign for a new facility, which became the South Central YMCA. As leader of the new YMCA, Mease founded the Houston Area Urban League, the Eliza Johnson Home, and the Houston Council on Human Relations. These institutions led to the peaceful desegregation of Houston’s public facilities. When student protesters at Texas Southern University needed a new headquarters, Mease let them use the YMCA. Mease has served on over thirty non-profit boards in Des Moines, Chicago and Houston and raised an estimated $270 million dollars.

Mease was a founder and chairman for nineteen years of the Harris County Hospital District and chaired the Harris County Hospital Foundation. He was Emeritus Member of the Baylor College of Medicine and the Texas Medical Center. The naming of Houston’s Quentin R. Mease Community Hospital is one of many honors garnered by Mease’s community work. The late Congressman Mickey Leland read a tribute to Mease into the congressional record in 1981. Mease's wife, Jewell, passed away in 1978. He also had a grown daughter and grandson.

Mease passed away on February 24, 2009.

See how Quentin Mease is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Quentin Mease's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Quentin Mease lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Quentin Mease describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Quentin Mease talks about his maternal grandfather's service in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Quentin Mease talks about his maternal grandfather's experience as a slave in Charlottesville, Virginia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Quentin Mease talks about his parents' early lives in Virginia and their migration to Iowa
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Quentin Mease talks about his mother's entrepreneurship
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Quentin Mease talks about his father's birth in Staunton, Virginia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Quentin Mease narrates his photographs, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Quentin Mease talks about his father's move to Buxton, Iowa
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Quentin Mease talks about his father's professional life in Buxton, Iowa
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Quentin Mease talks about his father's acquaintance with John L. Lewis
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Quentin Mease talks about attending elementary school in Iowa
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Quentin Mease talks about the desegregation of YMCAs in Chicago, Illinois in the 1940s
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Quentin Mease describes the lack of segregation in Buxton, Iowa during his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Quentin Mease talks about his and his siblings' career paths
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Quentin Mease recalls his decision to accept the executive directorship of the YMCA in Houston, Texas
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Quentin Mease explains how Archie Alexander inspired his interest in civil engineering
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Quentin Mease recalls his experience as an executive at the Des Moines, Iowa YMCA from 1931 to 1942
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Quentin Mease talks about working part-time for the YMCA and for his brother's maintenance business in Des Moines, Iowa
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Quentin Mease talks about being drafted into the U.S. military during World War II
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Quentin Mease describes the segregation he experienced while traveling South during World War II
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Quentin Mease discusses his promotion from private to technical sergeant in the U.S. Army Air Corps
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Quentin Mease explains how he entered the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Quentin Mease talks about his U.S. military service in the South Pacific Theater of World War II
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Quentin Mease narrates his photographs, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Quentin Mease describes Hiroshima, Japan a week after the atom bomb attack in 1945
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Quentin Mease describes the return of civilians to Hiroshima, Japan a few weeks after the atom bomb attack in 1945
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Quentin Mease talks about attending George Williams College in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Quentin Mease talks about visiting New York, New York in the 1940s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Quentin Mease remembers his teachers at George Williams College in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Quentin Mease talks about expanding the board of the Bagby Street YMCA in Houston, Texas
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Quentin Mease talks about increasing the membership campaign goals at the Bagby Street YMCA in Houston, Texas
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Quentin Mease describes the initial distrust he faced from the African American community in Houston, Texas
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Quentin Mease talks about the establishment of the Houston Community Council in 1951
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Quentin Mease talks about the sentiments that gave rise to the sit-ins in Houston, Texas in the 1960s
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Quentin Mease describes the student-led sit-ins in Houston, Texas
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Quentin Mease describes the reaction to student-led sit-ins in Houston, Texas
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Quentin Mease talks about the influence of businessman Jesse H. Jones in Houston, Texas
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Quentin Mease recalls influential politicians and businesspeople during the desegregation of Houston, Texas, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Quentin Mease recalls influential politicians and businesspeople during the desegregation of Houston, Texas, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Quentin Mease talks about his involvement with civic organizations
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Quentin Mease talks about the founding of the Urban League Houston, Texas chapter, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Quentin Mease talks about the founding of the Urban League Houston, Texas chapter, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Quentin Mease describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Quentin Mease describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Quentin Mease reflects upon his career
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Quentin Mease reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Quentin Mease talks about his family
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Quentin Mease describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Quentin Mease narrates his photographs, pt. 3